BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS
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Testimonials

View a video of 3 inspirational survivors sharing their breast cancer journey.

         
   

"I am a five-year survivor, diagnosed at age 41 in 2003. I have also survived two other cancers and am now fighting the recurrence of one of those cancers. I face each day with a smile, because I believe I am an instrument for God, and the job He has for me is not yet completed. I accept, with humility, what He has for me and share my story every chance I get.

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition is, and has been, one of my biggest supporters. I consider the people at DBCC to be part of my extended family. My desire is that, one day, I will be able to play a bigger role by giving back service as a volunteer."

 
 
Alfie Barrett-Davis
   
         
   

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2005; I was 36 years old. My breast cancer journey encouraged me to appreciate my friends and family more and to count the blessings that are in my life. It has caused me to take a step back and explore my interests outside of work and recognize the importance of relationships.

I am a first-term member of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Board of Trustees and a Peer Mentor . I hope to become even more involved with DBCC as I seek to balance my personal life and work."

 
 
Chen Wang
   
         
   

"Who says a man can't get breast cancer? Not me! I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 1996 when I was 61 years old. Throughout my life I never wanted to ask for help. I was lucky for 61 years - but when I needed help, many people came to my aid. They were family, friends and people I didn't even know. And, when I know of a person who needs help, I'll be there.

My first experience with Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition was through my niece, Carol Levin , who is also a breast cancer survivor. I attended last year's Northern Lights of Life at Longwood and never expected that this year, I would be a model! "

 
 
Darrell Foreman
   
         
   

"Well, I was diagnosed in November 2007 at age 42. I'm a better person (not that I thought I was all that bad before...but I am better.) I am more patient and I take time to reach out to those who need my help. I enjoy life more -- taking time to stop and smell those beautiful roses! People are more valuable and the most precious thing you can give me is your time. Cancer has helped me focus on the good things in people and in life. I intend to spend the rest of my long life thanking God or the wonderful gifts I have, none of which are available in any store.

I want to be there for the next "me" in the most appropriate way for DBCC. I want to be the person like Cathy Holloway who reached out and quelled my fears (as far as she could) and provided the hope I needed to wage the fight. Somebody out there needs me, and I want to be there for them."

 
 
Renee Ridenour
   
         
   

"I learned I had breast cancer in January 2004; I was 45 years old. I always kept a very healthy and active lifestyle, kept my weight in check, don't smoke or drink and had no family history of breast cancer (I changed that!). These did not insulate me from breast cancer. I have come to realize that it may have been my destiny to be diagnosed with breast cancer so that I would be able to help someone else in the future. If what I went through four years ago helps just one person, then it was all worth it.

At first I was reluctant to get involved with DBCC, because it meant thinking and feeling all those emotions all over again. I sought out a friend, Theresa Gates , who is very active with DBCC. Through rekindling our friendship and learning more about DBCC, Theresa helped me see that I was ready to become active too. I hope to help many women along the road to survival and, in doing so help myself as well."

 
 
Shelly Santoro
   
         
   

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer six weeks before my wedding in August, 2007. I was 34 years old. I was amazed at the support I received from friends, family and the Survivor Sisterhood. Some people disappear when something this serious happens. It meant so much to me when people would post on my Caring Bridge website or send me a card wishing me well.

Soon after my diagnosis, my husband organized an event to raise money for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. The event was a blast! That's when I met the wonderful ladies of DBCC. As soon as I felt ready, I signed up to be a Mentor and participated in Mentor Training. Breast cancer has its own language; it's difficult to navigate through all the information, research, anxiety, and fear. I hope I can help someone else get through this and not just survive -- but thrive!"

P.S. "My wedding was the best day of my life!"

 
 
Cindy DelGiorno
   
         
   

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 1997 -- I was 47 years old. This diagnosis was very difficult to accept and it was very difficult to deal with the emotion and mental battle this life-threatening illness brings with it. I realized that I had to fight my breast cancer with a positive attitude despite being weak from chemotherapy and embarrassed by the loss of my hair! Three years later my sister, Vanessa, was diagnosed with breast cancer too. We coped with our cancers with God-given strength. I'm now eleven years cancer-free!

Although this year has been very difficult with the death of both my parents, I am still an active member of DBCC's MAAM program and other support groups. My goal is to generate breast cancer awareness by providing support, education, and all available resources to empower women whose lives have been changed by breast cancer. I continue to ask God to give me the strength, hope and wisdom to continue on this unique journey."

 
 
Dottie Randall
   
         
   

"I received the diagnosis of my breast cancer in March 2006 --I was 41 years old. There was no family history of breast cancer -- no reason to think that I was "at risk". Like so many women, I just hadn't gotten around to getting my first mammogram. Seven surgeries, a course of radiation, and a full round of chemo later, I'm a breast cancer survivor. And, I am my family's history now!

I came to know the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition after I had gone through treatment. How I wish I had known about them during treatment -- so many of my questions could have been answered easily. This will be my second year volunteering for Northern Lights of Life. I am also a peer mentor with DBCC.

 
 
Lorraine Gilson
   
         
   

"My breast cancer was diagnosed in November 1998; I was 41 years old with no family history of breast cancer. I didn't expect that diagnosis! I focused on the surgery and the treatments and, as my treatments came to an end, I realized "I'm really lucky!" The word 'depression' is no longer in my vocabulary and I now live life to the fullest.

Since Delaware is so affected by breast cancer, it's wonderful that there is an organization which focuses on those impacted by breast cancer and on awareness of the disease. I've worked on DBCC's Strategic Planning Committee and participated in Northern Lights of Life. I anticipate continued involvement with the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and especially with those women who are experiencing their breast cancer journey."

 
 
Carol Levin
   
         
   

"I couldn't believe it when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2003 at age 45 -- it was shocking! I had gone through this experience when my own dad died of breast cancer a few years earlier. More shocking was trying to convince the surgeon to perform a complete mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy because he was concerned that I was going to be 'flat chested'! Like I would care, right? So today I am flat chested on one side. My daughters remind me every once in a while that I have a 'boob' on one side and a 'was a boob' on the other! But I'm happy to be alive and kicking!

I was recently named a member of DBCC's Board of Trustees and, as such, hope to contribute to DBCC's Mission and Vision, especially regarding efforts and programs around outreach and education."

 
 
Mario Cruz-Rivera
   
         

Photographs by Bev Michel, http://michelphoto.com/